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I write novels for teens and adults. Visit me here & on my website http://www.jenniferarcher.net

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Writing on the Road: Seattle

The new picture of the sailboat gracing the top of my blog was made during my trip to Seattle at the end of May. I’ve had a bad case of the travel bug all of my life. Luckily, I married a man with the same affliction! Since we’ve been together, we’ve traveled as often as work, children, and finances allowed us to. Lately though, with one of our sons out of college and the second soon to follow, we’ve been going off to explore new places and old favorites more often than ever before.

One of the great things about being a writer is that I can work from anywhere. Even so, sometimes I put the writing aside and allow myself a total vacation. Everyone needs time off to revitalize. But I’ve learned that I can’t do that every trip – especially when I have looming deadlines – or as much as I enjoy the excursion , the work will always be at the back of my mind, poking at me, reminding me it needs to be done, and I’ll get a little grumpy. I used to worry that family and friends traveling with me would think I’m strange if I shut myself away a few hours a day to scribble in my notebook or type on my laptop. But after a lot of years spent writing books, I’ve learned that most “normal” people (a.k.a. “nonwriters) think writers are a bit strange, anyway. Better to be strange and happy than strange and irritable! They undoubtedly enjoy my company more – and I know I enjoy them more, as well as the vacation – if I squeeze in some writing time before the play. If I just get up a little early while everyone else is still sleeping and spend those first hours of the morning with my characters, I’m a happy girl the rest of the day!

My oldest son moved to Seattle in January of this year, and my husband and I were thrilled about that. Seattle has been on our “want to explore” list for a very long time. We weren’t disappointed. I loved everything about Seattle! The laid-back, casual atmosphere, the water, the vibrant neighborhoods, the seafood, the houseboats.

Our friend Dane took us on our first sailing excursion on his beautiful boat.
We drove our son’s car onto a ferry and went across to Bainbridge Island then drove part-way around the Olympic Peninsula one day, went to Pikes Market the next, and a smaller fish market, two farmer’s markets and a street market in the following days.

I especially liked how Seattle is made up of different neighborhoods that are like small towns within the city itself – each neighborhood having its own vibe, as well as its own shops, restaurants, grocery stores, etc., within easy walking distance of its housing area.
I enjoy “walking cities.” I miss that in my own town. Where I live, if you see someone walking along busy streets, you figure that their car must have broken down!

I was happy to see many small, independent and specialty bookstores still in business in the neighborhoods of Seattle. In this economy, when even the giant chains are hurting, I hope that these small stores can hang in there and survive. That’s another thing I miss in my own hometown – independent and specialty bookstores. It seems that, like newspapers, they are too quickly becoming an anachronism in more and more places.

I came home from Seattle with great pictures, great memories provided by my son and his friends, and some beautiful jewelry I bought at a street market in the funky Fremont neighborhood.

My Acholi Bead bracelet and earrings were made out of recycled paper by women from the Acholi tribe of northern Uganda. After Africa’s longest running war forced them to flee their homes, these women are rebuilding their lives and taking care of their families by creating these pretty,unique, and reasonably priced pieces of jewelry. Read more about these women and Acholi Beads here.


Travis Erwin said...

Looks like a great trip. I'd love to go do some fishing in that area.

David Cranmer said...

Great post and terrific pics.

My wife and I are afflicted by the same travel bug. And fortunately we have been able to travel to some far off places in the past few years.